June 16, 2010

At least New Jersey gets the benefit of this kind of research before the real battle begins. It's already too late for the Gulf Coast:

The northern Atlantic Ocean, including the Jersey Shore, holds more economic value for activities such as commercial fishing and tourism than it does for oil extraction, according to a report released today by the New Jersey Sierra Club.

For every dollar an oil company would make from drilling off the North Atlantic coast, the more environmentally friendly pursuits of fishing and tourism would generate $12, making sustainable uses of the ocean more prudent than offshore drilling, the report said.

Long pushing for a moratorium on offshore oil drilling, several environmental groups gathered on the boardwalk in Asbury Park today to discuss the results of the report and announce a statewide event on June 26 calling for an end to offshore oil drilling.

"The report we’re releasing…shows that oil and gas is less profitable than sustainable activity," said Grace Sica, outreach coordinator for the Sierra Club. "Just two years of sustainable use of the North Atlantic Ocean almost exceeds whatever and all oil and natural gas resources are in the North Atlantic."

The report, authored by Michael Gravitz, oceans advocate for the Washington, D.C.-based Environment America Research and Policy Center, attempts to put into perspective the value of coastal business for each of the five oil-drilling regions of the United States compared to the value of oil and natural gas under their respective oceans.

The report said New Jersey was responsible for generating $11.5 billion of the estimated $61 billion generated by leisure and hospitality and recreational and commercial fishing among the seven states in the North Atlantic region. The suspected oil and natural gas in the region is estimated at $5.1 billion, according to the report.

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